Meyer Burger to cut workforce further

21. November 2012 | Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends, Top News | By:  Becky Beetz

Meyer Burger Technology Ltd has announced it will cut around 250 jobs across the group. The Swiss company has already reduced its workforce by around 500 this year. The challenging photovoltaic market conditions have been cited as the reason.

Meyer Burger HQ Switzerland

The aim of the restructuring measures is to increase efficiency and reduce operating costs by around CHF 30 million.

In order to improve flexibility and meet market demands, Meyer Burger has said it will reduce its permanent workforce to around 2,000. This will involve the removal of approximately 250 positions, a spokesperson tells pv magazine, 50 of which will be made at group member Roth & Rau in Germany’s Hohenstein-Ernstthal.

In March, Meyer Burger announced it would make cuts totaling 15% in 2012. However, it has already reduced 19% of its workforce, or around 500 employees. Aside from the 50 jobs at Roth & Rau, the spokesperson could not say where the other reductions would be made, or when.

Currently, Meyer Burger is said to be reviewing its overall budget, and the projects and sales forecasts for 2013 of its individual members to see where the cutbacks can be made. It has locations across Switzerland, Germany, the U.S. and Asia.

The aim of the restructuring measures is to increase efficiency and reduce operating costs by around CHF 30 million (€24.9 million, US$31.9 million).

"Various project discussions with customers, among them also in new PV markets in Asia, South America, in the Arab region and in Africa, confirm Meyer Burger’s conviction that the long term prospects for photovoltaics continue to be positive," said the company in a statement released.

"However, it remains very difficult to forecast when these project discussions will result in new contracts and when the current overcapacity of solar cell and module manufacturers will be reduced. For this reason, visibility in the overall market remains limited."

For the full year 2012, Meyer Burger forecasts sales of just over CHF 600 million, a negative EBITDA of between CHF 20 million to 40 million. It added, "With the measures being taken as part of the accelerated consolidation and optimisation programme, Meyer Burger aims to reduce the EBITDA break-even threshold in order to achieve a break-even result at EBITDA level already with similar sales volumes as in 2012."

In related news, with the sale of its Chinese manufacturing unit, Precision Tooling & Solar, and the associated holding structure, Roth & Rau has officially completed its CRiSP II restructuring program.

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